How naïve of Roman Polanski to think we'd forget that he was a wanted man despite the many films he's made and awards he's won over the last three decades. Time does heal old wounds, but in Polanksi's case Lady Justice has proven to be a patient and watchful woman.
Polanski fled the U.S. for Europe over thirty years to avoid sentencing and jail time after pleading guilty for the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl whom he plied with drugs and alcohol. Since then, he has been free to make movies, travel freely throughout Europe, and enjoy quite a comfortable life. I suppose if I were him I'd think by now the whole rape thing would have blown over too.
I am shocked by the outpouring of support from celebrities and others who have come to Mr. Polanksi's defense and have pleaded for his release. The victim, now in her late 40s, has even stepped forward to ask that he be released. While many use this as additional justification to set him free, we all know that its not unusual for victims of violence to let their perpetrators off the hook because they do not want to relive the traumatic experience. In her case, she is probably receiving around the clock calls from Debra Winger and others asking that she forgive and forget.
To make their case, his supporters say Polanski has served his time and deserves to be free. I find this confusing given that he only served 42 days in jail and when sentencing was to happen he used his resources and connections to flee the country. Since when has 42 days been an adequate jail sentence for rape of a minor?
Fortunately for Polanski's victim and other victims of sexual assault who often wait years for justice, the law doesn't care if you're a celebrity or won the 2003 Academy Award for The Pianist, you will be held accountable -- even if its 30 years later.
Letting Polanksi off the hook perpetuates the belief there is a shadow justice system at work in the U.S. for the rich and well connected. We all suspect it, but allowing Mr. Polanski to go free would confirm it. He and his supporters should not get to determine or decide his punishment. He should be held accountable for his actions and brought to justice.
The irony in all of this is that Polanski was captured after arriving to receive a prestigious lifetime achievement award in Switzerland. It looks like his life has come full circle, and after all these years, the credits can finally roll.
Follow C. Nicole Mason on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@cnicolemason